Published: November 16, 2013
When the Kansas City Chiefs reconvened Monday after their bye week, coach Andy Reid didn't have to say a word or warn his team about hazing in the locker room.
They already knew.
Aside from rookies carrying veterans' shoulder pads up the hill at training camp, the Chiefs have a no-hazing policy.
"We're not a hazing team, we don't encourage that," Reid said in his first comments to reporters since the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin saga in Miami became national news last week. "That's just not how we operate."
While some teams have their rookies sing, perform skits and tie rookies to the goal posts at camp, remember the Chiefs' theatrics in HBO's "Hard Knocks" series in 2007? Reid discourages such histrionics.
Reid traces his feelings to Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh, who mentored Reid's boss at Green Bay, Mike Holmgren, and took that principle to Philadelphia when he became a head coach in 1999.
"Bill Walsh felt the rookies were an integral part of the team, and you treat them like men, and we expect them to play like the rest of the guys," Reid said. "Mike Holmgren did the same thing."
Once John Harbaugh, one of Reid's assistants at Philadelphia, became the Baltimore Ravens' coach in 2008, he implemented Reid's policy.
"Anybody who comes into our locker room is a teammate," said Harbaugh, whose team won last season's Super Bowl. "You don't have to earn your stripes that way. There are some fun things guys do. The guys have to buy chicken for the road trips . . . but, our guys do a great job."
Harbaugh also implemented a program in 2008 in which every rookie is assigned an older mentor.
"Veteran leadership shines in terms of how they (conduct themselves), what kind of people they are," Harbaugh said. "Things can be hidden from teachers and coaches and everything else. But, you also have to be vigilant if you are in a leadership position as a teacher or a coach or a boss. Try to ask a lot of questions and try to talk to people all the time. Most people will tell you what's on their mind if you really want to find out."